One of my disciplines is to read through the Bible each year. Though it may take longer some years than others depending on what concepts and verses jump out at me, I’m always amazed to discover something new about God or myself in the process each year.
This year we are reading the New Testament from a Greek Lexicon that contains the Greek and precise translation of each word in English. Starting in the Book of Matthew, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that the Greek translation of “Kingdom of Heaven” in many of our English versions was originally written in Greek as “Kingdom of Heavens.” The difference of course is that the Bible denotes three definitions for heaven. The first is the eternal habitat of God. The second is the sky above the earth. The third is the universal body of stars and planets that surrounds the earth. Why does this matter?
The English translation of “heaven” implies that God’s government is only effective in his eternal habitat. The Greek manuscript’s version “heavens” however reinforces that God’s domain includes all three heavens: everything in the universe, physically and eternally. A larger domain than just the heaven that is God’s abode. Whatever its worth, it simply reminds us that the Bible was not originally written in English and therefore requires us to do some homework before we accept what is written. This is why it is good to have various translations that provide us with a more complete picture of the author’s intent and message.
So next time when we read Matthew’s gospel, remember that God’s kingdom and domain includes the entire heaven, earth, and universe. But then again, you probably already knew that.
Holy Father, Holy Lord, and Holy Spirit: Almighty God, we thank you for allowing us to live in your kingdom. Thank you for also allowing us to experience your way of life through Christ Jesus. Help us to share your life with others in our small world. Help us to witness your way through our actions and if necessary through our words. Whatever we do, let it always glorify you.